Berlin Games: How The Nazis Stole The Olympic Dream
The publicity for this book touts that “acclaimed author Guy Walters presents a fascinating and brilliantly detailed account of the most controversial and politically charged sporting event of the twentieth century.” It’s right. Examining the 1936 Olympics from the venue announcement in 1931 through 1936, Berlin Games lays out the manipulation exercised by the Nazi propaganda machine to, in essence, hijack the games and turn them into a set piece for the glory of the Nazi regime.
Writing in tight narrative, Walters dissects the motives of those behind Berlin winning the venue and the efforts of Hitler’s men to wrest control. Not forgetting the athletes’ role, he also gives a thorough accounting of their exploits and the mythical stories that have grown up around them (dispelling one or two along the way).
Overall, Berlin Games moves past what could be a gossipy sports read and becomes an insightful look into the impact of the 1936 Olympics. Packed with Nazis, talented athletes, English aristocrats swooning over Hitler and the frightening miasma that will become the Final Solution, this book will be enjoyed by sports fans and historians alike.